Open data: New York makes available public datasets online

NYC Open Data: Local Law 11 requires New York agencies to make available their public data.
Credits: City of New York

On 7 March 2013, hundreds of new datasets were made available on NYC Open Data, a portal containing all of the New York's online data. The datasets include among others demographic statistics, social media usage or hurricane evacuation plans as well as a large variety of maps: Subway entrances, fire houses, hospitals, elevation points and other mapped data that might be relevant for disaster or disaster risk management.

March 7 was the deadline set under the city’s open data law, also know as Local Law 11. All city agencies had to comply with this deadline in making available their data. In the past year, city agencies have already posted at least 350 new datasets, including a database of building complaints, historical crime data and the location information for every payphone in the city.

Compiling information in a central location is the first step toward understanding the size and scope of the data that is in the city’s possession. “It’s the equivalent of going to a library, and know you have a card catalog you can go to,” Noel Hidalgo, executive director of the Open NY Forum, a civic data meetup group that was part of the coalition of non-profits that advocated for the law.